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General Washington to Governour Trumbull



Head-Quarters, Heights of Harlem, October 8, 1776.

SIR: I was this morning honoured with your favour of the 2d instant, and beg leave to return you my thanks for he measures you have adopted upon my request for obtaining an account of the prisoners in your State, and for your assurance that I shall be furnished with a return as soon as it is procured, in order that I may give further directions about them.

The proposition respecting the prisoners that wish to remain with us, and about the expense that has been incurred for the maintenance of the whole that have been in your State, I shall lay before Congress by the earliest opportunity, and will transmit you the result of their opinion. However, it appears to me that there will be a necessity for returning the whole of their prisoners, not only because the balance is against us, but because I am informed it was particularly stipulated on the part of General Montgomery for those that were taken in Canada. The case will be hard upon those who want to remain, and who have all become attached to us; and should Congress determine on their being returned, it will be but right that some pains should be used to inform them of the reasons leading to the measure; and I doubt not, if they act with proper caution, that they may afterwards effect their escape, to which they should be encouraged. Indeed I think, if they are heartily disposed towards us, that their exchange may be productive of many good consequences; they may extend their influence to many others, and who, perhaps, will be induced to desert.

I hope the resentment which your State mean to express against those who have scandalously deserted from the defence of our cause will have a happy effect, and prevent a like conduct in future; nothing can be too severe for them.

Before the receipt of your favour, I had desired the General Officers to make out a list of such Field and other officers as are esteemed worthy of command and entitled to commissions in the service. This is a consideration of exceeding importance, for without good officers we can never have troops that will be worthy of the name; and with them we may in time have an army equal to any. We have good materials to work upon. As soon as the list is obtained, I will forward it by the first conveyance that may offer. I have strongly inculcated on the Generals the impropriety of giving in or recommending any but those who are fit for service; and you may rest assured, sir, as you have been pleased to honour me with your confidence on this occasion, that, as far as it shall be in my power, I will only return those that are well spoken of, and who, from report, will answer (what you have ever had in view) the advancement of our common rights and the happiness of the United States .

I am, sir, with respect, &c, GO˙ WASHINGTON.

To Governour Trumbull, Connecticut .

P˙ S˙ The following payments have been made to the Militia of your State, lately here:

1776, September 28, Major Nathaniel Torry, for his regiment, $5, 185 9-72

1776, September 30, Captain Amos Barnes,

15th regiment, commanded by Major Shaw, 5, 211 38-72